The United Nations Women Zimbabwe has urged media practitioners to prioritise women’s voices when reporting on gender issues to build trust and make women a voice of reason.
Speaking on the sidelines of a media sensitization workshop in partnership with the Lower Guruve Development Association (LGDA), UN Women spokesperson Innocent Katsande noted that the media plays a pivotal role in amplifying women and girls’ issues, which are too often not given priority in various outlets.
He added that it is unfortunate that the media tend to perpetuate gender inequality using its influence.
“In all contexts, society is influenced by gender stereotypes that the media presents using various channels’, Katsande added. ‘Regardless of the progress made in response and addressing gender inequalities, there is still more that needs to be done to change the narrative.”
Although there has been a steady increase in the number of women professionals over the past 20 years, most mainstream press coverage continues to rely on men as experts in the fields of business, politics and economics.
Women in the news are spoken about with language that has sexist connotations and is more likely to be featured in stories about accidents, natural disasters, or domestic violence than in stories about their professional abilities or expertise.
To this end, the UN Women emphasized the need for social behaviour change communication strategy by media practitioners to demystify harmful religious and cultural practices that perpetuate gender inequalities
“Empowerment of women requires a holistic approach in terms of all stakeholders coming on board. There is a call for women spokespeople, rights organizations to continue stepping up and being bold on speaking on behalf of other women,” Katsande said.
He further stated that women tend to shy away from the media because of a lack of trust between them and the media personnel.
“They do not know what will come after speaking and some lack training and the exposure to deal with the media,” he added.
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